I remember when I was a young man, it seemed that only folks like the John Birch Society were talking about getting out of the United Nations. The idea seemed so absurd. Yet, over the decades, the UN has proven to be a collection of some 170 nations, most of whom are corrupt dictatorships determined to rail against Israel and the US.
This week’s disgraceful Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements with the US abstaining was for many in the US the final straw. Even more galling was the US abstaining – an unprecedented move given our tradition of shielding the Middle East’s only democracy and our only true ally in that region from the forces within the UN determined to destroy her.
Now we are hearing from Israel that the US (President Obama, John Kerry and Joe Biden) orchestrated the vote. Biden allegedly called the president of Ukraine to urge a yes vote. Kerry reportedly negotiated the wording of the resolution with New Zealand so that the US could abstain. If this is all true, it is a low point even by Obama standards. But I digress.
Not to deny that the UN has done some good things, but their credibility in the US has never been lower. Respectable Republicans like Mike Huckabee are saying that it is time to get out and let them drift off to Geneva, Switzerland or some other country. In-coming president Donald Trump is openly antagonistic to the UN. But is it realistic to think that we may actually get out of the UN at this point in time?
As much as I would like to see it happen on Day One of the Trump administration, this is something that needs to happen incrementally. Aside from Israel and the US, the UN still enjoys wide support internationally. I don’t hear Europeans calling to get out. (They are too busy debating the EU.) Ideally, the US would lead other democracies to form an alternative world organization made up of decent, free nations who respect human rights. That may yet come someday, but not immediately.
What is more realistic now is a large cut in US funding to the UN. Presently, we pay about 22% of the UN budget. President Trump would enjoy wide public support in cutting that contribution significantly.
Whatever good the UN has done is overshadowed by its failures. While they are busy doing the bidding of the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation and issuing resolution after resolution against Israel, the Middle East burns and Christians are being slaughtered. Most of the UN’s members are corrupt dictatorships. Yet, the UN blithely puts nations like Iran, Sudan and Saudi Arabia on human/women’s rights commissions with a straight face.
One thing is clear: The UN must be reformed or abandoned. More than any other country, the US has the power to begin the process of the UN’s collapse. Trump will need allies, however, beginning with Europe. Unfortunately, Trump needs to build his credibility with Europe because those nations are very wary of him.
Hopefully, Trump will take steps to begin the process that will lead the UN to either reform or collapse. Cutting our contribution drastically would be a good first step.
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